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The U.S. Postal Service used “faulty” assumptions in limiting its purchase of electric mail-delivery trucks in its $6 billion fleet replacement plan, a top House Democrat said April 5.
The postal service used a low gas price and assumed higher maintenance costs for an electric vehicle than for gas-powered, said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who is pushing for the service to buy more battery-powered vehicles.
“The evidence shows just the opposite is true,” Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said at a hearing on the vehicles. “Clearly, the Postal Service needs to re-evaluate its assumptions.”
The service last month said it had doubled, to about 10,000, the number of electric vehicles in its initial order. The trucks will be among 50,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles from Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp.
Maloney referred to a Government Accountability Office report released April 5. The congressional watchdog said the current national average price of gas is almost $2 more per gallon than the price the postal service used.
“The leadership of the Postal Service relied on faulty assumptions,” Maloney said. She called for “a much more aggressive plan to electrify the fleet. Otherwise, they risk saddling the Postal Service with an antiquated gas-guzzling fleet for the next 20 years.”
The Postal Service is moving forward over objections of the Biden administration with its $6 billion plan to purchase as many as 165,000 mail trucks over the next 10 years, with up to 90% of those running on gasoline instead of more climate-friendly batteries. Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency has called the plan a “lost opportunity” to reduce the carbon footprint of one of the world’s largest government fleets.
Stephen via Oversite Committee/YouTube
Electric vehicles cost more to buy, said Victoria Stephen, the Postal Service’s executive director of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, the term for the new trucks to replace aging pollution-spewing vans.
The new fleet can have any balance of gas versus electric vehicles, Stephen told lawmakers. But expected costs show the fleet will be “substantially” gas-powered, she said.
Benefits from electric vehicles “are not enough to overcome the higher costs,” Stephen said.
Asked about the assumptions cited by GAO, she said the agency is committed to “ongoing updates as conditions change in the market” as it considers its vehicle program.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy last month said the agency will look for “opportunities to increase the electrification of our delivery fleet in a responsible manner.”
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Oshkosh has said its contract allows the flexibility, when funding is provided, to increase the percentage of electric vehicles.
A recent postal reform bill provides $50 billion in financial relief to the postal service over 10 years, Maloney said.
“A small portion of those funds can be used responsibly to buy more EVs,” Maloney said. She also called for more funding from Congress.